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Blog Tour: Daemoniac by Kat Ross

Synopsis for Daemoniac (from Goodreads):

It’s August of 1888, just three weeks before Jack the Ripper will begin his grisly spree in the London slum of Whitechapel, and another serial murderer is stalking the gas-lit streets of New York. With taunting messages in backwards Latin left at the crime scenes and even more inexplicable clues like the fingerprints that appear to have been burned into one victim’s throat, his handiwork bears all the hallmarks of a demonic possession.

But consulting detective Harrison Fearing Pell is convinced her quarry is a man of flesh and blood. Encouraged by her uncle, Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry hopes to make her reputation by solving the bizarre case before the man the press has dubbed Mr. Hyde strikes again.

From the squalor of the Five Points to the high-class gambling dens of the Tenderloin and the glittering mansions of Fifth Avenue, Harry and her best friend, John Weston, follow the trail of a remorseless killer, uncovering a few embarrassing secrets of New York’s richest High Society families along the way. Are the murders a case of black magic—or simple blackmail? And will the trail lead them closer to home than they ever imagined?

Other books in the series:

breakdown

Series: A Dominion Mystery
Author: Kat Ross
# of Books: 2 (Daemoniac, The Thirteenth Gate)
Book Order: Connected but Chronological Events
Complete?: Unsure
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Mystery, Supernatural
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: First Person, Single (Daemoniac), Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: October 2016 – June 2017
Source & Format: Xpresso Book Tours–eARC

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m a sucker for a good mystery story–especially if it has anything to do remotely with Sherlock Holmes. I took a detective fiction course in my undergrad and LOVED it! But I’ve been a Holmes fan since I was a kid thanks to my father. Yes, I’m that person who gets excited for the latest re-imagining of the famous detective.

Image result for sherlock reaction gifs

So when I saw the premise for this novel–a young female detective hunting a murderer in 1888s New York–you would have had to tackle me to the ground and tie me up to stop me from joining this blog tour.

The Plot:

If you’ve ever read a Sherlock Holmes’ story, you’ll be right at home with this book. All the copious detail that is a staple of a Conan story is present from start to finish with this novel.

Which means it takes a while to get into the groove of the narration here. Especially for someone like me who isn’t overly fond of excessive detail. The first few chapters were tough to get through but definitely worth it in the end.

The last half of the book has faster chapters and a lot more action. Once everything starts to come together, this book is hard to put down. It does a great job of wrapping up the mystery of this novel while giving you enjoy loose ends to be curious about the sequel.

As for the mystery–it’s very Sherlock-ian and definitely worth uncovering.

The Characters:

If you are at all familiar with the basics of the Sherlock Holmes’ universe, it’s easy to see the parallels between the characters. Harrison is a smart and observant lead (Sherlock); her best friend and sidekick, Weston, is a doctor in training (Watson); and don’t forget the caring housekeeper Mrs Rivers (Mrs Hudson).

I could go on and on with the character parallels but I do want to emphasize that these characters aren’t carbon copies of their inspiration.

Harry in particular lacks the cocky persona of Holmes. She knows she can solve mysteries but she has always lacked the opportunity to do so because of her older sister. And don’t forget the social pressures she has as a female in New York City; that in itself adds a unique aspect to her character. So it was nice watching her come into herself as the story progressed.

The Romance:

There is no romance here but I do see the inklings of some potential romantic encounters later on in the series.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

While this mystery is solved in this novel, the story is far from over. The teaser we get for The Thirteenth Gate has me excited to see how everything is going to come together. I’m also looking forward to learning more about these characters and uncovering more of their secrets.

updates

–August 3, 2017– Book #2: The Thirteenth Gate

You can find my full review of this novel here as a part of the blog tour.

concSLOW

My Rating: 4/5

Daemoniac 4/5 | The Thirteenth Gate 3/5

overall

This series is perfect for fans of Sherlock Holmes and mysteries!

Read if You Like: Sherlock Holmes, mysteries
Avoid if You: dislike mystery stories, dislike stories with lots of detail

similarreads

  • The Iron Wyrm Affair by Lilith Saintcrow (Bannon and Clare Series #1)
  • The Seduction of Phaeton Black by Jillian Stone (Paranormal Investigator Series #1)

Kat Ross

Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She lives in Westchester with her kid and a few sleepy cats. Kat is also the author of the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day (Skyscape, 2014), about a world where the sea levels have risen sixty meters. She loves magic, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Preferably with mutants.

Author Links: Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

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Blog Tour: The Truth She Knew by J A Owenby

Synopsis for The Truth She Knew (from Goodreads):
Mama didn’t want me. In fact, she would’ve traded my soul back for someone different if God would’ve let her, but he didn’t, so she was stuck with me.
For eighteen-year-old Lacey, life at home is a rollercoaster. She doesn’t think she’ll ever be good enough to truly deserve Mama’s love.

But when Lacey enters college and meets Walker, everything starts to change. Suddenly, Lacey is face to face with the realization that maybe what she’s always seen as normal really isn’t. Her entire life—and everything she’s ever believed about herself and her family—is abruptly hanging in midair.

Lacey is left facing two paths, and she has to make a choice. The first means walking away from everything she’s ever known. The other means never really knowing the truth.

The Truth She Knew offers an honest and powerful glimpse into mental illness, the meaning of true love, and the psychological waltz that a daughter dances as she endures her mother’s unpredictable emotions, manipulation, and abuse.

Other books in the series:

breakdown

Series: The Truth
Author: J A Owenby
# of Books: 3 (The Truth She Knew, Echoes Beneath, Whispers of Hers)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Health
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: September 2016 – July 2017
Source & Format: Xpresso Book Tours–eARC

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This is just a review of the first novel, The Truth She Knew.

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m a HUGE advocate for mental health. I think people often stay focused on the physical health of a person; I’m guilty of it at times as well because that’s what my job focuses on. But mental health is such a massive factor in a person’s overall health. I think we’ve come a long way in breaking the stigma surrounding mental health but we’ve still got a long way to go.

So when I saw that this book dealt with the impact a parent’s mental condition can have on their child, I desperately wanted to read this book! I’ve come across this premise in other books but rarely does the protagonist not know about the parent’s condition and so I was interested to see how it was dealt with here.

What I Liked:

–The DRAMA!!!–

I’m not one for unnecessary dramatics so when I find a novel that has the right amount of drama & it’s given in the right way, I feel like I’ve struck gold.

This story does that.

Everything just builds up as you read which makes this book pretty addicting. But what I liked was that the drama all stems from something. Whether’s it’s the result of Lacey’s actions or her mother–nothing ever felt like it was added simply for shock factor. It all serves a purpose and one that contributes to the grand scheme of things.

–That it is Set in the 1980’s–

I don’t read a lot of contemporary novels that don’t take place in the last 10 years. I loved how these characters had to call the home phone or use a payphone to contact each other then simply shooting off a text to their cellphone. It just brings a simplicity to the story that I like. Plus, it reminded me of my younger days (though I was born in the 1990’s–just sayin’).

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Insta-Love–

Maybe in the 1980s people fell in love really fast–I’m sure there are stats out there that can prove that–but I didn’t love how the romance progressed here. Mind you, I wasn’t reading this novel for the romance so it wasn’t a huge factor; I just thought it all happened really suddenly even though I enjoyed the dramatics it brought to the story.

–Everything Happens at the End!–

The shit literally hits the fan in the last few chapters of this novel and it just makes you wish the book didn’t end! It all just reaches its climax and you are left wondering: what is going to happen next?!

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I really want the next book to focus more on the mental illness aspect of this story. While it was present here, I want to see Lacey grow more from her experience still. And some resolution to the other dramatics would be great 🙂

My Rating: 3/5

The Truth She Knew 3/5  | Book 2  TBR

overall

This is a heartbreaking story that will definitely touch its readers. In particular, The Truth She Knew does a great job of building up this story for its sequel. While my rating is lower here, I know that great things are in store and I can’t wait to read them!

Read if You Like: books dealing with mental health
Avoid if You: want a straight romance novel

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J A Owenby

J. A. Owenby lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband and two cats.

She’s a published author of six short stories and is beginning her first full length novel. J.A. doesn’t mess around when it comes to working with a professional team in order to present her best writing.

She also runs her own business and helps people find jobs they love as a professional resume writer.

She is an avid reader of thrillers, romance, new adult and young adult novels. She loves music, movies, and pop tarts. Her downtime consists of a beautiful summer evening, snuggling with her hubby outside underneath the stars. If it’s winter, listening to the rain and watching NFL football.

You can follow the events of her upcoming novel on https://www.facebook.com/JAOwenby

Author Links: Website  |  Goodreads  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

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Book Review: Play by Piper Lawson

Synopsis for PLAY (from Goodreads):
I’m Payton Blake. A successful, balanced twenty-something girl living the dream.

OK. So it’s a big-ass lie.

I could be all of those things. If I had friends outside of work. And if I didn’t mainline watermelon slushies like they were a food group. It wouldn’t hurt if I’d had sex in the last year, either. (My best friend insists Jorge the Nightstand Boyfriend doesn’t count.)

But when you know where you’re headed, who needs to enjoy the ride? Even if part of me longed for a little between-the-sheets adventure, Max Donovan would be the last guy I’d call.

Sure, he made the indie video game that broke the internet. His eyebrow piercing’s sexy, in an ‘are-you-in-a-band?’ way, and fighting with him gets me off faster than Jorge on bezerker mode. But he’s arrogant. Presumptuous. Colder than a cactus and twice as prickly.

None of it changes the fact that I crave Max Donovan like a watermelon slushy on a hot summer day.

I should ignore him. But I can’t, because he just became my biggest client. And whether he’ll admit it or not, he needs me even more than I need him.

Game on, Max Donovan.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author Favourite Author, Canadian Author
Author: Piper Lawson
Genre: Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Humour
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: September 14, 2016
Source & Format: Xpresso Book Tours–eARC

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Piper Lawson has easily become a must read author for me this year after reading her Travesty Series and Chased. Not only is she Canadian (always a “win”) but she writes really, really great romances. Romances that have a fantastic balance between the romance and the story. Emphasis on the story–she writes great stories with great drama. Each novel is fresh and new and so, so enjoyable!

So, I think it’s a no brainer why I wanted to be a part of this blog tour. I love her work and I want others to enjoy it too!

The Plot:

There’s actually a plot!!! I’m all for hot and passionate romances, but I don’t enjoy full blown erotica or romances that only focus on the sex. This story has a great balance between the romance and the drama. It takes the time to establish the plot of the story which is Payton trying to work with Max as he seeks out a loan for his next gaming venture.

I definitely laughed, I definitely swooned and I definitely enjoyed watching everything unfold. It was great getting to know these characters and see their chemistry and romance grow as I read.

The Characters:

Payton was a lot of fun to read about. She is a solid character with a good heart, so it made it really easy to root for her. She definitely had me laughing at some of the things that she did…or had happened to her thanks to her BFF Charlie.

Can Charlie have her own novel please?

She was hilarious! The pranks she pulls on their co-worker Avery were awesome. No one is safe from her antics and that was great to read about.

Max…oh sweet Max. Never have I wanted to find my own gaming nerd with an eyebrow piercing. Seriously, does he exist somewhere and where can I find him? It was nice not having his POV to keep him as a bit of a mystery, only revealing pieces of him as Payton learned them. While alternating POVs are great, there’s just something about only being in one character’s mind at a time.

The Romance:

This is a slow burn romance done right! Everything builds at the right pace and reveals itself at just the right time. It has been a long time since I’ve read a solid romance novel and this is definitely one.

Like I said before, having Max as a bit of a mystery really helped aid the sexual chemistry and tension. These two were a great match and I like how you get to see that as the story progresses.

And don’t worry, there are plenty of steamy moments…even if they don’t litter every page 😉

My Rating: 5/5

I’ll be honest, I originally rated this book a 4 but as I wrote this review, I couldn’t think of a negative thing to say! And when I thought about it, I would totally read this novel again–which says a lot because I don’t often reread books or have the desire to do so. I blame my my sleepiness from shift work for getting in the way of my initial rating.

overall
This is a solid romance novel! It’s lighter and fun but still has a strong story and characters. Piper Lawson writes fantastic contemporary romances; whether they are adult or new adult, she nails them! She has definitely upgraded herself from a must read author to a favourite author. If you haven’t read a novel by her yet, I’m positive this one will make you a fan!

Read if You Like: slow burn romance, lighter contemporary stories
Avoid if You: don’t enjoy contemporary romances

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Piper Lawson
Join my Insiders list now for a steamy exclusive excerpt! ➜ http://eepurl.com/bNQmYT

I love reading and writing about sassy, sexy, smart women and the guys who fall hard for them. Schooled is the introduction to my Travesty series about ambitious girls who chase their dreams of a fashion label from California to New York and back again.

My main household expenditures include books, coffee and chocolate, not necessarily in that order. Coffee = life (and I’ll defend it accordingly). I have two business degrees, neither of which I’ve leveraged into a fashion label.

Home is Canada plus occasional sunny winter escapes. Come find me on the tennis court, at the beach, on the web at www.piperlawsonbooks.com or on twitter @piperjlawson.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

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Blog Tour: Furious Rush (#1) by S C Stephens

Synopsis for Furious Rush (from Goodreads):
The first in an emotion-fueled, New Adult series from the #1 bestselling author of the Thoughtless novels!

Too fast, too furious—and way too hot to handle…

Mackenzie Cox has a lot to prove. Daughter of a racing legend, she is eager to show the world that she has inherited her father’s talent in the male-dominated sport of professional motorcycle racing. The last thing Kenzie needs is to be antagonized by her rival team’s newest rider, Hayden Hayes. Plucked from the world of illegal street racing, Hayden immediately gets under Kenzie’s skin. His insinuations that Kenzie is a spoiled princess who was handed her career fuels her desire to win, and much to her surprise, Kenzie soon learns she performs better when she’s racing against Hayden.

As Kenzie and Hayden push each other on the track, the electric energy between them off the track shifts into an intense—and strictly forbidden—attraction. The only rule between their two ultra-competitive teams is zero contact. Kenzie always does her best to play by the rules, but when her team slips into a financial crisis, she has no choice but to turn to Hayden for help. The tension simmers during their secret, late-night rendezvous, but Kenzie has too much to lose to give in to her desires. Especially when she begins to doubt that Hayden has completely left his street life behind…

Other books in the series:

breakdown

Series: Furious Rush
Author: S C Stephens
# of Books: 1+ (Furious Rush, Book 2)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Book 2 is to be published
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama, Sports
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: August 23, 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley–eARC | Thanks Forever Publishing

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Google Play | iBooks | IndieBound | Kobo

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I love a good forbidden romance and this one seemed to fit the bill perfectly when I read the synopsis. Rivals falling in love? It doesn’t get much better than this folks!

The world also grabbed my attention. Racing stories are few and far better–or they are for me–and the premise of a young women trying to break into a male-dominated world fascinated me. I dunno how many people remember the Disney Original Movie Motorcrossed, but it was a favourite of mine growing up.

The World:

I know nothing about professional racing but Stephens provides you enough to get easily understand the world. You aren’t bombarded with information nor are you left hanging wondering what the heck is happening.

It was great entering this world and a nice change in pace from the endless Football heroes…

The Plot:

This one started on the slower side for me. While the sexual tension was brimming from the get-go, I found the drama took awhile to reach its peak. In hindsight, it’s a great set-up for the rest of the series but I just felt like there were too many open-ended questions left.

The Characters:

Kenzie was a strong heroine. She sticks to her convictions even when the world is telling her not too. Her love and loyalty for her family is commendable and two of her best attributes. It made it easy for me to root for and empathize with her as the story progressed.

Hayden is the bad boy with a heart of gold that you can’t help to fall for. One of the nice things about not getting his POV is the mystery of who he is and why. I loved uncovering more about him as Kenzie did. I forget how nice only having a single POV can be in terms of suspense.

The Romance:

These two are perfect for each other and I love how obvious that is early on. If it is a forbidden romance, you need to convince me that these two belong together–and Stephens does that excellently! It was great watching these two fall in love, fighting every obstacle in their way!

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Like I said, I felt a lot of things were left open-ended so I’m very curious to see what is going to happen next!

My Rating: 3.5/5

Furious Rush 3.5/5 | Book 2 TBA

overall
It was super refreshing to have a sports novel set in a non-traditional sport like racing. The forbidden love aspect provides the perfect slow burn romance to keep you eager for more. Plus, the drama promises lots of fallout in the novels to come!

Read if You Like: sport-based novels, drama, forbidden romance
Avoid if You: dislike drama, dislike slow burn romance

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About S C Stephens:
S. C. Stephens is a #1 bestselling author who spends her every free moment creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance. In addition to writing, she enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and family. She and her two children reside in the Pacific Northwest.

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Series Review: Speak by T A Roth

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Synopsis for Say Something (from Goodreads):

Chemistry
What most girls search a lifetime for…
I felt it the minute he set those whiskey colored eyes on me.
Magnetism
We had it in spades…
My body was drawn to hers the moment she set foot into the room.
What happens when you both have pasts that threaten the future?
Do you do nothing?
Or
Do you Say Something?

22 year old Ari Munoz is used to keeping men at arm’s length. So when her best friend Vonne guilts her into going to a frat party, she couldn’t think of a worse way to spend a Thursday night. That’s until she sparks the interest of love’m and leave’m Ben Rodriguez. The electricity she feels when they lock eyes is something she’s never felt before.

22 year old Ben Rodriguez has it all. He’s a football star, president of his fraternity, and well known ladies’ man. His endless pick of beauties, makes him the envy of all of his fraternity brothers. So why are a pair of long legs and hazel eyes making him want to throw out all of his rules?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: New Must Read Author 2016
Series: Speak
Author: T A Roth
# of Books: 2+ (Say Something, Say Nothing, Say Anything)
Book Order: Chronological & Connected (Say Anything)
Complete?: No, Say Anything is to be published in the near future!
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: March 2015 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley & Xpresso Blog Tours–eARC

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thoughts

Note: The Blog Tour is for Say Nothing but I’ve made it a Series Review because the first book is so important for the sequel!

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I saw the Blog Tour announcement for Say Nothing, I immediately signed up…well, after I read the synopsis for Say Something (since I hadn’t read it yet). It promised a lot of sexual tension and fantastic character chemistry so I was immediately sold. And I knew that there was a deeper story to be unravelled once Ben and Ari meant…and I couldn’t wait to figure it out!

And man oh man, was I right!

The Plot:

While the story definitely focuses on Ari and Ben meeting and falling in love, there is also the underlying drama regarding the secret Ari has been holding back for most of her life. And what a heartbreaking secret it is. Watching her struggle with this was hard to read at times because you really want her to be happy and carry on with her life.

I did find the romantic drama to become slightly repetitive in Say Something though. I felt like it was the same cycle of drama again and again–trust/communication issues. Which is fine and even understandable given the characters we have. But I just got a little tired of it repeating itself when it seemed like they had moved past it earlier on. Or maybe it was just my frustration at seeing them struggle when I really wanted them to be together forever–I’m not too sure.

I wanted a little more from Say Nothing as well. The ending felt a little rushed and I wish certain things had been elaborated earlier on. BUT, there were some great twists and I did enjoy reading it a lot.

The Characters:

Ari had great character development as did Ben.

I became so attached to these two (and their BFFs) because they seem so normal. They weren’t over the top nor were they perfect. They each have their faults and they each have their issues but it was so, so great seeing them work on these things together. Even if it frustrated me (in a completely good way) at times 😉

The Romance:

Ari and Ben had great chemistry right from the start. I loved watching them interact and seeing their romance bloom. Things happen faster than I normally like, but I definitely saw how these two worked and why they liked each other so much. Their story was super addicting to read.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Thank goodness the next story is about Vonne!!! I was SO WORRIED we wouldn’t get a resolution for her romance and I CANNOT WAIT to read it! (The teaser at the end of Say Nothing nearly killed me!)

Series Rating: 4/5

Say Something 4/5 | Say Nothing 3.5/5  |  Say Anything TBR

overall
If you want a sweet yet sexy New Adult read, this is the series for you!

Read if You Like: college romances, family secrets
Avoid if You: dislike sexy times, New Adult romances

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T A Roth
T.A. Roth is a wife and mother of two funny and crazy kids. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. When she’s not beautifying clients as a stylist/make-up artist at her day job you can find her reading, fangirling her favorite authors, or singing along to the radio. After getting the opportunity to read the debut novel of a then client now friend something clicked. Her “what the hell” attitude kicked in and a year later, here we are.

Say Something… A new adult romance is her debut novel.

Author Links: Facebook | Website | Goodreads | Twitter

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Book Review: 27 Days to Midnight by Kristine Kruppa

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Synopsis for 27 Days to Midnight (from Goodreads):
Everyone in Dahlia’s world knows when they’re going to die. Except her.

Her father has never shown her the pocket watch counting down the days she has left to live. When he sacrifices himself to save her from her scheduled death, Dahlia abandons her comfortable home and sets off after his murderer to uncover the secrets her father died to protect…and the time research that could bring him back to life.

Then she meets Farren Reed. She should hate him. He’s an enemy soldier, a cowardly deserter, and the most insufferable man Dahlia’s ever met. Still, she needs all the help she can get, and Farren is the only chance she has to find the man who murdered her father. But Farren has only twenty-seven days left on his watch.

In that time, Dahlia must recover her father’s time research, foil a psychotic general’s plot, and learn to survive in a world that will never be the same. But the research holds secrets more dangerous than she had ever imagined. She will have to choose what is most important: revenge, Farren’s life, or her own. And time is running out.

breakdown

Author: Kristine Kruppa
Genre: Young Adult, Steampunk, Adventure, Action, Romance
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple (though mostly Alternating)
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016
Source & Format: YA Bound Book Tours–eARC

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

If I see the word “steampunk” I almost always pick that book up or add it to my TBR. It’s one of my favourite genres because I love the fusion of historical fiction and science fiction. With it comes rebellious heroines and dashing heroes; action and adventure. It’s a combination of my favourite things and when I saw the blog tour opportunity for this standalone novel, I knew I had to try to be a part of it.

I was looking forward a fun and fast steampunk adventure with a little dash of romance. Plus, the whole idea of knowing when you die via a watch? That was pretty interesting!

The World:

What a love about steampunk novels is that there are staples in every book (like automatons and aircrafts), regardless of the author but there is always a really cool twist that makes each novel or series unique–and this is no exception.

The idea that everyone knows when they are going to die is super intriguing. It’s also really well done, giving this story its backbone and driving plotline. I thought everything was clearly explained or very easy to follow in that respect. It’s complex but not complicated and I loved that.

The Plot:

The plot definitely had its ups and downs but is pretty steady for the last 75 pages. I’m not the biggest adventure fan but this one kept me interested throughout. And this story was definitely more adventure than anything else. But along the way you get some great character and plot development that keeps everything moving. Plus, there is a lot of action–more so than I expected!

Where this story really succeeds is with its POVs from other characters that aren’t Dahlia and Farren. They don’t happen very often but when they do, they add a depth to the story and its plot. You get the fuller picture and you’re able to put things together before Dahlia or Farren would and so you begin to anticipate what will happen next. Those scenes really made me excited to keep reading.

The Characters:

I didn’t like Dahlia immediately but I quickly warmed up to her the more I read. Her character development was fantastic I think. She really grew from the young, spoiled girl we meet at the start to a stronger young woman who I really liked.

Farren charmed me right from the start. I think I have a soft spot for rakish young aviators but that is beside the point! He too had some great development and I think he was the perfect companion for Dahlia on this quest.

The Romance:

This was my only disappointed in the novel. I really wanted some more substance here. The romance really takes a backseat while I personally wanted it to be a bit more at the forefront. However, I really enjoyed the other plot aspects and there was enough action to keep me entertained but I wouldn’t have minded a few more romantic moments here and there 🙂

My Rating: 4/5

overall
If you are looking for a fun, action packed adventure novel set in a steampunk world, this is it! I will definitely be keeping an eye out for Kruppa’s future works.

Read if You Like: adventure stories, steampunk
Avoid if You: more focus on the romance

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kristinekruppaKristine Kruppa

Kristine Kruppa is a mechanical engineer, writer, and world traveler. Her days are spent designing cool new car parts, but her evenings are filled with writing and cats. She has traveled solo to seventeen countries on five continents. Her other hobbies include hunting for the perfect cup of coffee, exploring used book stores, and accidentally climbing mountains. To keep up with her adventures, follow Kristine on Twitter @kskruppa.

Author Links: TwitterGoodreads

 

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Series Review: Cottonbloom by Laura Trentham

Synopsis for Kiss Me That Way (from The Publisher):
A river divides Cottonbloom in two: the upscale enclave on the Mississippi side and the rundown, rough and tumble side in Louisiana. They’re worlds apart—but nothing can build a bridge like love…

Cade Fournette never had it easy Cottonbloom. He stuck around long enough to raise his orphaned siblings and then hightailed it out West—and never looked back. Even though he’s made a success of himself in Seattle, Cade never lost the toughness and the angry edge that helped him survive down South. His only weak spot: the girl he left behind…

Monroe Kirby came from the wealthy side of town, but that didn’t protect her from her mother’s drinking—or her mother’s boyfriend. It was Cade who did that, on a long-ago hot September night, before he disappeared…along with a piece of her heart. Now Monroe is a physical therapist who can fight for herself, and it’s Cade who could use some conditioning when he makes an unexpected return back home. Will he and Monroe pick up where they left off and finally explore their mutual passion—or will the scars and secrets of the past divide them once more?

Other books in the series:
book3

breakdown

Author: Laura Trentham
# of Books: 5 (Full reading order here)
Book Order: Connected but chronological events
Complete?: No, When the Stars Come Out, will be published January 2018
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 31, 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley–eARC  |  Thank you St. Martin’s Press!

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Blog Tour review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a strictly adult contemporary romance that wasn’t labeled as a “steamier” selection, so I was excited when the opportunity came along to read Laura Trentham’s new series, Cottonbloom Novels.

I wanted a contemporary romance that focused on the characters and their connection to each other–not simply a matter of getting each other into bed. While I normally don’t go for second chance romances, the synopsis gave me the impression that there was more at play in Kiss Me That Way and I was looking forward to finding out what it was.

The Setting:

Nothing gets you attached faster to characters than a great setting, which this series provides. Cottonbloom is such a fun, crazy little town that readers will fall in love with.

Forget the “wrong side of the tracks” motto, this is all about the “wrong side of the river”.

You essentially have a town split in two thanks to the river and that makes for some great, “forbidden” romances and connections. It makes the story a little lighter, providing an upbeat vibe to the somewhat darker stories of Cade and Monroe. Trentham does a beautiful job elaborating on this throughout the novel and you can see how the setting weaves together the next two novels in the series.

The Plot:

I loved the pace of this novel. There was great character development on all fronts–including the secondary characters, which is important for the next two novels. And when Monroe and Cade weren’t learning more about themselves or their families, their romance was so sweet to watch unfold.

But what I really loved was the overarching plotline of the festival. Like I said before, it gives the story a happier vibe without taking away from Cade and Monroe’s past. It also ramps up the anticipation for the rest of the series–which I cannot wait to see!

The Characters:

While the character elements of Monroe and Cade are ones I have encountered before, I still found their characters to be unique and genuine. You can’t help but root for them to succeed in whatever they want, whether that’s love or family matters.

Before I started, I worried that Monroe might be a stubborn woman who resisted all help because she was “independent” now (if that makes sense) and I find those types hard to immediately connect with as a reader. But that honestly wasn’t the case. I really liked her from start to finish. She was strong and smart and perhaps a bit stubborn, but not to the point where it was frustrating. She also didn’t become some simpering fool the minute Cade walked into her life again–she kept true to herself and her independence and I really respected that.

The Romance:

Normally, second chance romances aren’t my thing but I truly enjoyed this one. These two had great chemistry from the get-go which made it so much fun to watch. It’s a bit of a slow burn, but I definitely enjoyed every minute watching these two come together.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

With the little tastes of everyone we got in this first book, I am dying to read the next two! Kiss Me that Way served as a great introduction into this series, and I can’t wait to see how the next two build on it!

updates

–July 10, 2016– Book #2: Then He Kissed Me


This book was everything I wanted it to be…and a little more!

I had just finished the second chapter when I realized I LOVED Nash! He was so sweet and so adorable that I immediately added him to my select list of book boyfriends. It was so refreshing to read about a hero who wasn’t totally confident in himself and I loved watching his character grow.

Tally was also fantastic. Her growth and self-discovery throughout this novel made it a treat to read.

They complimented each other so well which made the romance awesome to read. They had a great connection and palpable chemistry that I loved all their scenes together.

I enjoyed this novel from start to end and highly recommend it to contemporary romance fans!

–July 31, 2016– Book #3: Till I Kissed You

This story has been building from the very first Cottonbloom novel and building throughout. So I had high expectations going in…and every one was met!

The tension between these two was sizzling off the pages! I loved watching them reunite and battle all the obstacles in their way. It was absolutely perfect–everything fans of this series will want!

Not only was the romance really strong, but the drama plot line was also fantastic. I loved the mystery/suspense aspect to it. It kept you interested as a reader and balanced out the romance beautifully.

Overall, it was an AMAZING way to end this series! I will definitely be checking out more books by Laura Trentham in the future!

–August 3, 2017– Book #4: Leave the Night On

When I learned that there would be new books in the Cottonbloom Series, I thought it was a joke. A very cruel joke because I absolutely loved this series and it was a highlight of my 2016 summer.

I adored Leave the Night On. It has one of my all time favourite tropes, the fake relationship, and it is executed flawlessly. These two has sizzling chemistry from the start and I loved watching them fall deeper and deeper for each other. They were perfect for each other and I couldn’t help but root for them to get together.

And the plot was excellent as well. It had that perfect balance between character development and romantic development. These two had a lot of growth to do as characters and I loved that they did so not only together but independently as well. I had a very hard time putting this one down!

And of course, we got just enough of a taste of what’s to come that I cannot wait until the next Abbott brother gets his story.

Series Rating: 4.5/5

Kiss Me That Way 4/5 | Then He Kissed Me 5/5 | Till I Kissed You 5/5 | Leave the Night On 5/5

overall

This book really wasn’t what I was expecting–but in a totally good way! It wasn’t the typical second chance romance that I thought it was going to be. The slow burn romance intermingled with the character development and overall series plot made this one a blast to read! Definitely a great summer book series to get your hands on!

Read if You Like: contemporary romances, second chances
Avoid if You: want an erotica romance

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Book Review: Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey

Synopsis for Love, Lies and Spies (from Publisher):
Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top PicksFav YA Standalone 2016, New Must Watch Author
Author: Cindy Anstey
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Romance, Mystery, Espionage, Humour
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: April 19, 2016
Source & Format: Xpresso Book Tours–eARC via NetGalley

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I first saw this book when I was browsing NetGalley and the cover piqued my interest. The concept sounded like a lot of fun but I was bogged down with other reviews so I didn’t put it on hold right away. Until, the opportunity came along to be a Blog Tour Host and I knew I had to sign-up!

Not only is Cindy Anstey a fellow Canadian ? (woot!) and I love supporting my fellow Canadians, but this book sounded like so much fun! It’s been a long time since I’ve read an historical YA novel so I was eager to dive into that world again. 

The Concept:

This book is a great homage to Jane Austen’s work. You can definitely see where Austen’s influence lies in the not-your-everyday-beau-monde heroine Juliana and the scheming of family members. It also has all the “season-drama” as well. But don’t think the writing reads like a classical novel. The writing has a great, fast and often quirky flow to it that makes it such a joy to read. So if you didn’t enjoy Pride and Prejudice (maybe read the Zombie version 😉 ), don’t think you won’t enjoy this one because you totally will (if you like historical espionage romances that is).

The Plot:

I found that there was never a dull moment with this book! If I wasn’t absorbed into the romance, I was trying to figure out the political espionage or enjoying the antics of the other characters during the season. I knew right from the start given the situation Juliana immediately finds herself in and how she meets Spencer that this was going to be a fabulous and fun read.

There are plenty of twists along the way and there is always something to keep your attention. The best way I can describe this book is as the perfect hybrid between Meg Cabot’s YA historical reads and Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove Series. You have the stronger, independent heroines, the dashing but intriguing heroes and a splash of humour that makes reading the story so entertaining!

The Characters:

I loved Juliana from the start. I thought she was a quirky character and I like how she handled herself throughout the novel. Maybe it’s just the novels I read that are historical romances but most of the time, the heroine is one that breaks all of societies rules so it can get a little monotonous. However, I never really felt that way with Juliana. She was very unique and had a great aura about her that drew me to love her.

Spencer was also completely swoon-worthy. He was just as entertaining as Juliana so when they were together, it was magical. He was everything I wanted a cute dashing spy to be and perhaps a little more <3

The Romance:

While I normally read romances that are a little spicier than this, there was something so sweet and completely addicting about the romance here. I think it was because I knew what a great match these two were for each other right from the get-go. Their interactions together were a blast to read and I know I giggled like a little school-girl at some of the things they said. Definitely my favourite aspect of the novel for sure.

My Rating: 5/5

overall
This is definitely at new personal favourite for me! I don’t reread books often simply for the sake of rereading them but this one I will be picking up again. I just loved the plot, the antics and the romance. It has a comforting feel about it, like Victoria and The Rogue (one of the only books I have reread multiple times).  I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish and I cannot wait to read Cindy Anstey’s next novel!
Read if You Like: historical YA, witty characters, historical espionage
Avoid if You: want a steamier read, dislike historical stories

similarreads

  • Victoria and the Rogue by Meg Cabot
  • A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare (Spindle Cove Series #2)

Cindy Anstey
She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.

Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester. Love, Lies and Spies is her debut novel.

Author Links:
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Book Review: Adorkable by Cookie O’Gorman

Synopsis for Adorkable (from Goodreads):
Adorkable (ah-dor-kuh-bul): Descriptive term meaning to be equal parts dorky and adorable. For reference, see Sally Spitz.

Seventeen-year-old Sally Spitz is done with dating. Or at least, she’s done with the horrible blind dates/hookups/sneak attacks her matchmaking bestie, Hooker, sets her up on. There’s only so much one geek girl and Gryffindor supporter can take.

Her solution: she needs a fake boyfriend. And fast.

Enter Becks, soccer phenom, all-around-hottie, and Sally’s best friend practically since birth. When Sally asks Becks to be her F.B.F. (fake boyfriend), Becks is only too happy to be used. He’d do anything for Sal–even if that means giving her PDA lessons in his bedroom, saying she’s “more than pretty,” and expertly kissing her at parties.

The problem: Sally’s been in love with Becks all her life–and he’s completely clueless.

This book features two best friends, one special edition Yoda snuggie, countless beneath-the-ear kisses and begs the question:

Who wants a real boyfriend when faking it is so much more fun?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite YA read 2016
Author: Cookie O’Gorman
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: March 31, 2016
Source & Format: YA Bound Tours–eARC

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

While I do like the cover of this novel, it was actually the title that drew me in. A nerdy heroine? Sounds just like me. (No joke). Never mind the fact that I say “adorkable” at least once a week whenever I can fit it into a conversation.

When it comes to best friends falling in love, I’m a picky girl. It’s not that I am against the idea of best friends falling in love–far from it actually. I honestly think there is nothing sweeter than falling in love with your best friend. But I hate unrequited love stories because they perpetuate the idea that girls and guys can’t be platonic friends when that is far from the truth.

So when I see a story that has two friends who most likely return the same feelings–like this one does–I’m so there! Add to that a fake boyfriend-girlfriend relationship–one of my favourite tropes in a romance–and I will immediately sign up to read it.

I think it goes without saying, I was looking forward to this book quite a lot.

The Plot:

Given the synopsis of the book, I had a pretty good idea of where this story was going to go but I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t go exactly as I thought. There were enough interesting plot developments to make the story interesting from start to finish. It never felt like a cliché when it easily could have.

I felt like there was a great balance between the romance, the character development and the coming of age. In that respect, its story kinda reminded me of The DUFF; only replace the cynical Bianca with a nerdy and more upbeat Sally. It has its funny moments and its charming moments but it also has its real moments and I think readers will connect really well with that.

I also like that it isn’t over-dramatic! As I get older, I associate high school based stories with petty, unnecessary drama but I never felt like that with this story. It had just the right amount of drama to keep things interesting but not enough to make me roll my eyes or sigh in frustration.

The Characters:

It helps that the characters are great (more on that below) but there interactions are as equally funny as they are charming. When I wasn’t swooning from Becks or rooting for Sally, I was laughing at something someone had said or at Sally being a complete nerd (in the best way possible of course). They are so realistic and you just want these people to be your friends in real life.

Sally is so refreshing to read as a heroine. She has her own self-esteem issues that I think any girl can relate to and it was awesome to see her grow in that respect. She never looses herself despite everything that happens and I really appreciated that.

Becks and his family completely won me over. Becks was so sweet and charming and everything I wanted him to be.

The Romance:

What I love about best friends falling in love with each other is that you can see why they like each other and why they feel that way. I just loved these two so much! They understand and look out for each other so much that you only want what is best for them whatever it may be. It was great to watch everything unfold!

My Rating: 5/5

overall

I have to say that Gorman has a great flow to her writing. She had me hooked from the very first chapter and I finished this book in one sitting. It was cute, charming and funny and had me feeling all the feels. I don’t read a lot of YA contemporary but this one reminds me why I do enjoy the genre from time to time. I can’t wait to see what else Cookie O’Gorman has in store in the future!

Read if You Like: YA contemporaries, BFFs in love, fake boyfriends/girlfriends
Avoid if You: dislike contemporary romance, don’t like high school stories

similarreads

  • The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
  • Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally (Hundred Oaks Series #1)

Cookie O’Gorman
Cookie O’Gorman writes YA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas. Her debut novel ADORKABLE will be released in 2016.

Author Links:

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